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Things to Do With Kids in Houston

Endless attractions that appeal to adults and children alike

From boat tours on Buffalo Bayou to one of the top children’s museums in the U.S., Houston offers endless attractions that appeal to adults and children alike. Plan a visit and treat your family to one of the city's fun-filled, action-packed adventures that are as entertaining as they are educational.

Money-Saving Tips 

For families looking to stretch their vacation budget, Houston offers many money-saving perks.

Houston CityPASS This thin booklet offers tickets to Houston’s top attractions and museums at a fraction of the cost, $56 for adults and $46 for children ages 4-11 (a savings of more than 47%). With CityPASS, you can explore the workings of mission control at Space Center Houston; experience the wonder of the underwater world at Downtown Aquarium; walk on the wild size at the Houston Zoo; or stop by the Children’s Museum for ultimate kid-friendly fun!

Coupons and Discounts More than 100 special offers—from ticket deals and hotel packages to restaurant perks and transportation promos—are live on www.VisitHouston.com.

Houston-For Free Spend your day exploring Houston’s hotspots, while saving big with a well-edited list of the city’s most-loved free things to do.

Tyrannosaurus Rex at Hosuton's Museum of Natural Science

Best Museums

Children's Museum of Houston: This world-class museum is crazy fun for all kids, featuring 90,000 square feet of interactive and bilingual exhibitions in the areas of science and technology, history and culture, health and human development, and the arts. Kids can run their own city and compile their own TV news reports at Kidtropolis, make their own gadgets in the Invention Convention exhibit, and check out the forces of hydropower at FlowWorks. And for children three years and younger, Tot Spot provides a fun-filled wonderland of invigorating activities for infants and toddlers.

Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS): This extremely kid-friendly museum consistently ranks as one of the most visited museums in the country for a reason. HMNS features a paleontology hall towering with prehistoric critters, a groovy planetarium, a 3D IMAX Theater, a magnificent butterfly exhibit, plus more than a dozen permanent exhibit areas. And make sure to check out the museum's all-new, massive Paleontology Hall.

The Health Museum: It’s anatomy and physiology come to life! The Health Museum takes kids on an interactive, Magic School Bus-like exploration through the human body, letting them identify their personality, view their internal organs, see what they will look like in 30 years and much more.

Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH): Families can discover a world of art at MFAH with exciting weekly family programs--including Creation Station, Family Packs, Target Free First Sundays, Story Time and Family Tours--designed especially for children and adults to explore art together.

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens: This historic home-turned-museum loves kids so much it dedicated the third Sunday of every month to family fun. Bayou Bend Family Days are an amazing day of free entertainment and learning for kids, featuring different outdoor and indoor activities, demonstrations and performances.

Space Center Houston: Here, kids can experience the rich history and the awe of space through Kids Space Place, created for children of all ages who have always dreamed of experiencing the same things astronauts do in space. From the popular Build-A-Rocket to Mission Kidtrol, children will explore, learn the concepts of space and see how these fun activities can be applied to the space program. For a real behind-the-scenes look at NASA, take your kids (ages 14+) on the exclusive Level Nine Tour.

If You Need Some Drama 

Express Children's Theater and the Main Street Theater are Houston’s two performing arts organization’s dedicated specifically to children's performances like Junie B. Jones and Stuart Little.

Houston Grand Opera's Opera to Go! series presents shortened versions of traditional and new repertoire for more than 50,000 children and families throughout greater Houston.

Enjoy the sweet sounds of the Houston Symphony's Weatherford Family Concerts (year round) and Sounds Like Fun!  FREE family concert series (every June).

Jogger at Buffalo Bayou Park

Great Outdoors

In Houston, it's just as easy to spend a morning hiking and canoeing through the city’s lovely green belt as it is to visit an acclaimed science exhibit.

Houston Zoo: Check out the zoo Parents Magazine named one of the "10 Best Zoos" in the nation. In addition to a special children's zoo and an aquarium filled with exotic aquatics, the zoo's Natural Encounters facility gives kids a "nose to nose" experience with animals.  

Houston Arboretum & Nature Center: Explore the best of nature at this 155-acre wooded enclave nestled in the heart of Houston. Kids can participate in fun workshops about plants and wildlife and enjoy more than 5 miles of nature trails, including forest, pond, wetland and meadow habitats.

SplashTown: SplashTown is Houston's largest and most diverse water park, featuring 40-acres and more than two million gallons of summer fun. You'll want to check out the Stingray Racer, the park's newest thrill ride featuring six water slide lanes stretching 55 feet up. And the Tornado, an experience that begins on a platform 75 feet in the air where daring riders are set in motion down a 132-foot long tunnel and thrown into the giant open-ended funnel.

Houston Area Live Steamers: Take a ride on a miniature model train with the Houston Area Live Steamers. With a 4,700-foot track in Zube Park in Northwest Harris County, the group operates monthly free ride days on the third Saturday of each month. The 15-minute rides are fun for the entire family. 

Buffalo Bayou Houston’s 52-mile Buffalo Bayou has become a prime destination for outdoor recreation near downtown Houston. A fun way for families to explore Houston’s green belt is with bikes, boats and bats!

  • Hike and Bike Trails Call West End Bicycles for rental info, (713) 861-2271.

  • Canoe and Kayak Trails Call North Lake Conroe Paddling Co. for rental info, (936) 203-2697.

  • Waugh Bridge Bat Colony Witness 250,000 bats emerge at dusk from under the Waugh Drive Bridge, located over Buffalo Bayou between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive. Buffalo Bayou Partnership offers Waugh Bridge Bat Colony Pontoon Boat Tours (second & fourth Friday of the month, March-October).

Miller Outdoor Theatre  Catch free music, dance and kid-friendly performances like Jack and the Bean Stalk and The Three Little Pigs, at Miller’s beautiful outdoor amphitheatre inside Hermann Park.

Discovery Green Park  Downtown’s 12-acre park features a model boat pond, children's playground, interactive water features and fantastic year-long programming geared toward families.

Hermann Park  This 445-acre urban park, a Nickelodeon Parents' Pick Award winner, is the perfect place to spend a day with kids, whether it's riding the train along Hermann Park Railroad, pedal boating on McGovern Lake, or enjoying a peaceful moment in the Japanese Garden.

Local Favorites

The Chocolate Bar  A dream come true for kids, this sweet place is all about fun, happiness and of course, chocolate! The store is packed with clever little novelties--cell phones, hand tools, cars--all created in luxuriously rich chocolate. Through a large window at the rear, kids can look into the preparation area where all this chocolate magic is concocted. But the heart of the operation is a marvelous ice cream cooler with a dozen stunning, made-on-site flavors that use chocolate to varying degrees.

The Mad Potter  Get in touch with your artistic side at this paint-your-own-pottery studio where kids and adults alike can try their hand at becoming the next modern day Michelangelo.

The Little Galleria Play Area Located on the second level of The Galleria, this 2,000-square-foot play area features mini-versions of Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Williams Tower. Children are invited to play in the soft-foam area — that includes a grand entrance facade, climbers, slides, tunnels, a play wall, shoe keepers, a changing station, hand sanitizer stations, a stroller area and adult seating.

Kemah Boardwalk

Family Outings Outside Houston 

Kemah Boardwalk Overlooking Galveston Bay, and just 20 minutes from Downtown Houston, this coastal getaway features themed restaurants, retail shops, and amusements for the whole family. This 35-acre carnival-like atmosphere has a 36-foot carousel, a 65-foot Ferris wheel and rides like the Aviator, the Inverter and the Boardwalk Tower. Kids love the arcade and Midway games.

Moody Gardens This tropical destination, less than an hour from Houston on Galveston Island,  is ideal for families and groups alike. Delve into the oceans depths at the Aquarium Pyramid, explore the extraordinary world of science at Discovery Museum, experience the action of the IMAX® 3D, 4D and enjoy gulf breezes aboard the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat.

Schlitterbahn Water Park Hot or cold, rain or shine, Schlitterbahn – located on Galveston Island - has your family covered with climate-controlled rivers, slides and pools that will put you in a tropical mood! This award-winning park was recently featured on the Travel Channel and also provides free parking, tubes and lifejackets.
 

By GHCVB Staff

 
 
 

   Guide To Houston City Pass

 
 
 
 
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  • GHCVB Member
    (713) 639-7750
    6003 Memorial Drive | Houston, TX 77007
    Memorial Park/Washington Corridor
    Bayou Bend , the former home of Houston philanthropist Ima Hogg, now houses the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's early American decorative...
  • (713) 752-0314
    | Houston, TX 77002
    Downtown
    The Buffalo Bayou Partnership offers canoe, kayak, and pontoon boat tours along Buffalo Bayou, near downtown Houston. Buffalo Bayou Boat...
  • GHCVB Member
    (713) 752-0314
    | Houston
    Downtown
    Buffalo Bayou , the 52-mile slow-moving waterway that was the site of Houston's founding in 1836, has become a destination for outdoor...
  • GHCVB Member
    (713) 942-8920
    3816 Caroline St. | Houston, TX 77004
    Museum District
    TripAdvisor Rating Based on 83 reviews
    The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is the only museum in the U.S. dedicated primarily to preserving the legacy and honor of the...
  • GHCVB Member
    (713) 522-1138
    1500 Binz Street | Houston, TX 77004
    Museum District
    TripAdvisor Rating Based on 1222 reviews
    The Children’s Museum of Houston is all-new and now twice as big! Rated the No. 1 children's museum in the U.S. by Parents magazine,...
  • 713-520-8599
    1835 W. Alabama St. | Houston, TX 77098
    Montrose
    TripAdvisor Rating Based on 224 reviews
    Quirky candy creations made at this Montrose dessert shop are perfect for gift giving. This store is packed with clever little...
  • GHCVB Member
    (713) 400-7336
    1500 McKinney Street | Houston, TX 77010
    Downtown
    TripAdvisor Rating Based on 532 reviews
    Discovery Green , a 12-acre park located in downtown Houston, is designed as an engaging and active place with programming to serve all ages...
  • GHCVB Member
    (713) 223-3474
    410 Bagby Street | Houston, TX 77002
    Downtown
    TripAdvisor Rating Based on 368 reviews
    Part attraction, part restaurant, the 500,000-gallon Downtown Aquarium complex is multi-functional destination boasting a Ferris wheel, an...
  • 713-682-5044
    446 Northwest Mall | Houston, TX 77092
    Express Children’s Theatre creates and presents professional performing arts for children and their families, to honor the curiosity and...
  • GHCVB Member
    (713) 942-7054
    1515 Hermann Drive | Houston, TX 77004
    Museum District
    TripAdvisor Rating Based on 119 reviews
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  • (713) 524-5876
    1700 Herman Dr | Houston, TX 77004
    Museum District
    Hermann Park has a bountiful assortment of entertainment: a golf course, an outdoor theater, a jogging track, a beautiful rose garden,...
  • GHCVB Member
    (713) 681-8433
    4501 Woodway Drive | Houston, TX 77024
    Memorial Park/Washington Corridor
    TripAdvisor Rating Based on 150 reviews
    Located on the western edge of Memorial Park (4 miles from Downtown Houston), the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center offers an escape from...
  • 17400 Roberts Rd. | Hockley, TX 77447
    The Houston Area Live Steamers is an organization to devoted to live steam modeling. On the third Saturday of each month, the group offers...
  • GHCVB Member
    (888) 330-5008
    1300 Avenida De Las Americas | Houston Visitors Center | Houston, TX 77010
    Save 48% off admission to Houston’s 5 must-see attractions with Houston CityPASS . You’ll skip most ticket lines, too. CityPASS ticket...
  • GHCVB Member
    (713) 546-0200
    510 Preston Street, Suite 500 | Houston, TX 77002
    Downtown
    Since its inception in 1955, Houston Grand Opera has grown from a small regional organization into an internationally renowned opera...
  • GHCVB Member
    (713) 639-4629
    5555 Hermann Park Drive | Houston, TX 77030
    Museum District
    TripAdvisor Rating Based on 3244 reviews
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  • GHCVB Member
    (713) 238-1435
    Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana Street | Suite 102 | Houston, TX 77002
    Downtown
    The Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic...
  • GHCVB Member
    6200 Hermann Park Drive | Houston, TX 77030
    Museum District
    Founded in 1922, the Houston Zoo is an exciting live animal adventure that provides a unique educational and conservation resource serving...
  • GHCVB Member
    (281) 535-8100
    215 Kipp Avenue | Kemah, TX 77565
    Clear Lake/Bay Area Houston
    Overlooking Galveston Bay, the Kemah Boardwalk features themed restaurants, retail shops, and amusements for the whole family. At the heart...
  • GHCVB Member
    (713) 524-3622
    2540 Times Blvd | Houston, TX 77005
    West University/Rice Village
    Main Street Theater offers a lively year-round repertory of classic and contemporary plays for audiences of all ages. It houses a stage...
  • 22306 Aldine Westfield Rd. | Humble, TX 77338
    Named after Thelma and Charles Mercer, Humble’s Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens entices visitors daily with free admission and...
  • GHCVB Member
    (832) 487-7102
    6000 Hermann Park Drive | Houston, TX 77030
    Museum District
    Miller Outdoor Theatre is Houston's premier outdoor theater for the performing arts. Free performances run March through October. Miller...
  • GHCVB Member
    (409) 741-8484
    Seven Hope Blvd. | Galveston, TX 77554
    Galveston
    TripAdvisor Rating Based on 1590 reviews
    Moody Gardens, consisting of Aquarium, Rainforest and Discovery pyramids, is an educational attraction focusing on nature. Rainforest...
  • GHCVB Member
    (713) 639-7300
    1001 Bissonnet Street | Houston, TX 77005
    Museum District
    TripAdvisor Rating Based on 1750 reviews
    Founded in 1900, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's collection numbers more than 56,000 works and embraces the art of antiquity to the...
  • 713-639-7300
    1001 Bissonnet | Houston, TX 77005
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    TripAdvisor Rating Based on 1750 reviews
    The MFAH offers a variety of adult-level, guided tours. Discover and learn from a selection of tour topics exploring the museum’s current...
  • GHCVB Member
    (409) 770-9283
    2026 Lockheed Street | Galveston, TX 77554
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    Let Schlitterbahn Galveston Island be your personal oasis with its huge array of awesome aquatic adventures! This award-winning park was...
  • GHCVB Member
    (281) 244-2100
    1601 NASA Parkway | Houston, TX 77058
    Clear Lake/Bay Area Houston
    TripAdvisor Rating Based on 5428 reviews
    Space Center Houston, the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center, is Houston’s No. 1 attraction for international visitors and...
  • 281-244-2100
    1601 NASA Parkway | Houston, TX 77058
    Clear Lake/Bay Area Houston
    The Level Nine Tour takes you behind the scenes to see the real world of NASA up close and personal. On this four-hour tour, you will see...
  • GHCVB Member
    (713) 621-1907
    5085 Westheimer Road, Suite. 4850 | Houston, TX 77056
    Galleria/Uptown
    The Galleria , an international shopping destination that hosts more than 24 million visitors annually, offers world-class shopping with...
  • (281) 355-3300
    21300 I-45 North | Spring, TX 77373
    The Woodlands
    TripAdvisor Rating Based on 204 reviews
    Wet 'n' Wild SplashTown is Houston’s largest and most diverse water park, featuring 40-acres and more than two million gallons of summer...
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